Changes to CG 2394/95
Andy Garrad looks back at the City & Guilds 2394 & 2395 and gives his view on their coming to an end…. and then looks forward to the new 2391 Qualifications.
Looking back now the City and Guilds Inspection and Testing qualifications 2394 (Initial Verification) and the 2395 (Periodic Inspection and Testing) seem to have been with us a very long time, yet they only made their initial entrance in 2012, replacing the formerly long running industry standard 2391 inspection and testing qualification.
At the time there was much concern in terms of their recognition. The 2391 had become so respected and engrained in the industry that electricians and prospective candidates worried that the new qualifications just wouldn’t carry the same weight. I feel however that over the last five years they have shown themselves to be an excellent replacement for the old 2391 and, whilst at their inception I didn’t think I’d be saying this, now I would say that in many respects I will mourn their demise. Yet here we are in 2017 on the eve of their replacement reflecting on what they gave us and what will come.
To put their contribution into perspective we have to look back at the structure of the old 2391. It was a single inspection and testing qualification that covered all aspects of I&T, including initial verification and periodic inspection and testing but arguably, and perhaps in terms of the delivery of trainers and tutors, never really made the distinction in difference between the two areas of inspection and testing. Having been involved in this area for a number of years I for one can well remember the large number of electricians and exam candidates who (although knowledgeable about the many detailed processes of inspection and testing) treated both areas as one and the same. This led to large numbers of periodic inspections being treated as if they were initial verifications and arguments from electricians that, ‘if the full process of inspections and tests for all circuits in a periodic inspection process were not undertaken then short cuts were being taken’, and that the PIR approach was not thorough enough, or at least questionable.
Thankfully with the advent of the 2394 and 2395 a clear understanding of the many similarities between the two I&T areas, together with their differences in approach and undertaking, became much clearer and today the large majority of candidates we see already have some idea of these differences prior to their training courses.
Their passing may not be as missed however by the large number of candidates who have argued over the years that closed book examinations do not reflect the ‘Real World’ in terms of access to information for problem solving. I’ve lost count of the number of candidates who over time have said to me ‘if I want to know something when I’m doing the job I’ll look in the Reg’s or GN3’. Well your concerns have been heeded for the new award which we will look at shortly.
So whether you wish to raise a glass to an old friend whose legacy has been clarity between the differing areas of inspection and testing or whether your raised glass is a good riddance to closed book examinations in this field, let’s all raise a glass anyhow to say goodbye to the 2394 and 2395 and hello to their replacements, all of which will be prefixed by that all too familiar 2391 code.
The new Qualification Range – City & Guilds 2391
So here we stand on the eve of another change to the City and Guilds Inspection and Testing qualifications, and you will be familiar with the first four numbers of the new qualification, which are 2391 !
Yes, you did read that correctly, the new replacement qualifications for the 2394 and 2395 have reverted to their old prefix of 2391, which of course was so readily recognised within the industry. Like a favourite soap character, killed off and now back from the dead, the 2391 will re-emerge but if you think it’s a step back to the old 2391 format, lauded by many and feared by many more then you’d be wrong. The new format represents a continued evolution of the inspection and testing qualification landscape.
There will be three possible variants for the new qualifications. These will be:
⦁ 2391-50 (initial Verification)
⦁ 2391-51 (Periodic Inspection and Testing)
⦁ 2391-52 (A combined 50 & 51)
I am pleased to say that the format of maintaining qualification distinction between the areas of Initial Verification and Periodic Inspection and Testing (as initially introduced through 2394 and 2395) has been maintained. Although where previously you would have had to undertake the full assessment format for 2394 and 2395 to achieve both initial verification and periodic, now the 2391-52 will exist, and whilst having the same knowledge requirements for the individual areas - this assessment is a combined and slightly shortened version that (at least in terms of exam anxiety) may benefit candidates who wish to pursue both areas.
The more significant changes however are to be found in the actual assessments themselves.
For each qualification there will still be three forms of assessment to be undertaken,
⦁ A Written exam (but carried out during the Practical Assessment)
⦁ A multi-choice on-line examination (open book)
⦁ A practical assessment (along similar lines to the 2394/95).
The big difference however, is that the assessments have now become open book assessments where candidates can now have access to specifically identified books during the examination, namely BS7671 and GN3. Before some of you announce the death of standards and the demise of inspection and testing while others punch the air in celebration of an easy ride and welcome in the changes, forst consider the following.
Open book examinations will typically assist knowledgeable people in an appropriate way by perhaps providing specific pieces of information they may need to clarify. This indeed would be the case in the real world as well. What they won’t do is to make the achieving of the examinations easy (or even ‘easier’) for those candidates who are poorly prepared and lack the appropriate foundation knowledge. There simply will not be enough time for such candidates to find a large number of answers then assimilate them and contextualise them in line with the exam.
Open book exams are, in my opinion, a positive step forward that will not only reinforce the use of our industry documentation and texts & will not in any way diminish the rigour and recognition of the stable of inspection and testing examinations presented by City and Guilds.
So, with new qualifications, the advent of the 18th Edition and the increased focus on sustainability there will be many changes to consider over the next few years in an industry that is reputed for being excellent at dealing with transformations. We look forward to embracing these changes and the challenges ahead.
Andy Garrad has been a Senior Lecturer and taught in the FE and the Private Sector for 25 years.
He has taught on HNC & City Guilds Programs to Level 4 as well as delivering bespoke Electrical courses in Dubai, Qatar, Kula Lumpur, Gibraltar and across the UK.